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How to Prepare for the Saville Wave Test

How to Prepare for the Saville Wave Test

Updated October 21, 2022

By Hannah Denby
Hannah Denby

What Is the Saville Wave Test?

The Saville Wave test is a personality assessment that helps to identify how people work and behave in professional team environments.

The questions are designed to find out more about a candidate’s working style, preferences and behavioral tendencies.

This test was created by Saville Assessment, a well-regarded business management consultancy and talent acquisition organization.

Saville Assessment’s personality questionnaires and psychometric tests are used worldwide in a range of different industries.

Customers include Lego, Dyson and the NHS.

The Saville Wave test is often used as part of the hiring process. It enables employers to assess personalities within a pool of candidates.

It can also be used to help managers decide which job role an individual would be best suited to, or as part of the wider career development strategy.

The Wave personality test appeals to many organizations due to its flexibility.

There are four different Wave personality questionnaires:

  • Wave Professional Styles
  • Wave Focus Styles
  • Match 6.5
  • Wave Strengths

The Focus and Professional Styles questionnaires are the tests most commonly used as part of organizational recruitment processes.

The style of questions is the same in the Focus and Professional tests. However, the Professional test is longer than the Focus test. Employers can choose the most appropriate test according to the job role they are hiring for.

Assessment results assist organizations to hire people with personality attributes to complement the company culture. As such, Wave tests play an important role in the hiring process for many organizations.

What to Expect on a Saville Wave Test

Saville Wave tests are administered online. The assessment is sent directly by email to the candidate.

There is no set time limit, however the Professional styles questionnaire takes most people around 40 minutes to complete.

The Focus assessment is shorter and usually takes around 13 minutes to complete.

The employing organization may choose to include the Wave test at any stage of the hiring process. You may be asked to complete it prior to shortlisting, or as part of the formal interview stage or assessment center.

Both the Professional and Focus assessments include a combination of normative and ipsative test questions.

The first set of questions are normative. You will be asked to rank a set of statements on a nine-point Likert scale, ranging from 'very strongly disagree' to 'very strongly agree'.

The second set of questions are ipsative. You will be asked to choose the statements that are 'a) most like you' and 'b) least like you'.

There are four clusters in both the Professional and Focus versions of the test. These clusters are focused on adaptability, delivery, influence and thought.

Each cluster is then split into twelve smaller sections. These sections break down even further into thirty-six dimensions, and facets are devised from these dimensions.

The Wave Professional Styles Questionnaire – 216 Questions

This test includes 108 facets, with two multiple-choice questions for each facet.

One question in each facet relates to talent, and the other relates to motive.

Your answers will be used to identify gaps between your talent and motive.

Although gaps are usual and expected, particularly large gaps can raise concerns.

The Wave Focus Styles Questionnaire – 72 Questions

This test includes 36 facets, with two questions for each. As with the Professional Styles test, one question assesses talent and the other assesses motive.

In both tests, you should be able to work out whether a question is assessing talent or motive.

Consider the wording:

  • Talent questions have direct links to personality traits and usually contain ‘I am’ phrasing.

  • Motive questions tend to be less direct and usually include phrases like ‘It is important to me that…’ or ‘I prefer to’.

It is important that you answer all questions truthfully and consistently. However, you should also be mindful that the gap between talent and motive questions should be as small as possible.

Your responses to the questionnaire will be combined to create a detailed report about your personality.

This will include information on your communication style, working relationships and problem-solving abilities.

Saville Swift Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests have become an increasingly popular part of the hiring process. They are designed to assess cognitive ability and key performance indicators.

Used effectively, they can help employers to select the best candidate for the job.

Organizations can choose tests from many different publishers, including Cubiks, SHL and Saville Consulting.

Saville’s psychometric aptitude tests assess verbal, logical, numerical and mechanical aptitude.

They can be taken as individual assessments, but they are often combined to create a blended assessment. This is referred to as a Saville Swift assessment.

A Saville Swift assessment lasts between 9.5 and 24 minutes, whereas single area assessments usually take longer to complete.

Numerical Aptitude Test

In the numerical aptitude test, you will need to analyze statistical information to reach fact based conclusions.

You will be presented with a set of multiple-choice answers and you will need to choose the correct one.

For higher level roles, you may be asked to take the numerical analysis aptitude test, which takes 24 minutes.

For entry-level positions, you may be asked to take the less complex numerical comprehension aptitude test, which takes 16 minutes.

Verbal Aptitude Test

The verbal aptitude test is also available in two formats.

The verbal analysis aptitude test takes 24 minutes and is usually taken by candidates for graduate, management and professional job roles.

You will be presented with passages of text and required to choose true, false or cannot say for a series of statements that center on the information provided in the text passage.

The verbal comprehension aptitude test takes 16 minutes. Aimed at entry-level roles, it is similar to the verbal analysis aptitude test – however, there are additional word-definition problems to answer.

Diagrammatic Test

During the diagrammatic test, you will see a range of operators – inputs, processes and outputs.

The questions are presented as diagrams, which demonstrate the operators in practice. You will need to choose the operators that result in the outcome illustrated in the diagram.

In addition, you will be asked to find faults and compare flowchart sequences. You will be allocated 24 minutes to complete the test. A shorter and slightly simpler version is available too, which focuses only on operators.

Mechanical Aptitude

For the mechanical aptitude test, you will need to demonstrate an understanding of physical principles. This assessment is a popular choice for technical job roles.

The questions relate to mechanical concepts such as direction and force. You will be asked to choose the correct multiple-choice answer, according to illustrations featuring mechanical concepts like levers, gears and pulleys.

The individual test takes 16 minutes. When combined as part of a Swift assessment, mechanical aptitude is often tested alongside spatial and diagrammatic aptitude.

Abstract Aptitude

The abstract aptitude test is designed to assess your logical thinking abilities.

You will need to study patterns and sequences, identifying relationships and rules within them.

In each image, part of the pattern or sequence will be missing. You will need to choose the correct image from the multiple-choice options.

You will be allocated 16 minutes to work your way through as many images as possible.

Spatial Aptitude

The spatial aptitude test is shorter than many other standalone Saville aptitude tests. It takes just eight minutes and is designed to test your spatial awareness when working with different shapes.

For each question, you will need to study four objects. Sometimes, these will be shown from different angles, but this is not always the case.

You will be tasked to examine the objects and identify which one is different. Often, the differences are very subtle, so you will need to demonstrate good attention to detail.

Error Checking Aptitude Test

The error checking aptitude test only takes six minutes to complete as a standalone test.

It is a popular choice for entry-level recruitment, as it assesses a candidate’s ability to find errors in coding, numerical and verbal information that has been transposed.

You will be presented with original information and transposed information. Your task is to check the information for errors. Sometimes, the information will be error-free, other times there will be more than one mistake.

The test is fast-paced, so you will need to work quickly, while ensuring attention to detail. Longer versions of the test are available for certain professions.

Workplace English Test

The Workplace English test is only available as a standalone option, so you won’t be asked to complete it as part of a Swift assessment.

You will be shown several different sentences regarding workplace scenarios. A word will be missing from each sentence, and you will need to choose the correct word from a set of multiple-choice options.

You will be allocated 16.5 minutes to work through as many questions as you can.

How to Prepare for the Saville Wave Test
How to Prepare for the Saville Wave Test

Situational Judgement Tests (SJT)

Situational judgement tests are used to find out whether a candidate is a good fit for an organization.

You will be asked to rate a series of responses to hypothetical work-based scenarios. These tests are bespoke to suit the needs of the employer, so the exact details of the SJT will depend on the hiring organization.

Saville Swift Executive Aptitude Test

This aptitude test was created with high level jobs in mind, for example directors, managers and other professionals.

It is designed to test critical reasoning skills through a range of abstract, numerical and verbal short tests.

The test comprises 24 questions, which you have 18 minutes to complete. The test is timed strictly, so you should aim to dedicate six minutes to each section.

Verbal Reasoning

In the verbal reasoning portion of the test, you will be shown words and paragraphs to check your ability to analyze, understand and interpret written data.

Your grammar, vocabulary, spelling and comprehension will also be tested.

Numerical Reasoning

The numerical reasoning part of the test measures your ability to interpret and understand numerical information.

The data is normally presented as a graph or statistics. You will be expected to answer a series of questions relating to the data provided.

Diagrammatic Reasoning

For diagrammatic reasoning, you will need to demonstrate your ability to evaluate and comprehend patterns and relationships.

You will be shown images that define logical processes, then you will need to answer a set of questions using the diagrams provided.

Scoring, Uses and How Tests Are Administered

The Saville Swift Executive Aptitude Test is normally administered online. The online Swift test tends to be used as part of the initial applicant screening stage.

Gaining a high score will allow you to move on to the next stage of the hiring journey. If you are asked to take the test at a later stage, your results will normally be considered alongside other elements of the interview and testing stage.

The standard version of the Swift Aptitude test features more questions and is usually used as part of an assessment centre. It is considered to be more challenging than the online Swift test.

How to Prepare for the Saville Tests

The first thing to do is find out which of the Saville test(s) you are going to be taking. There are several different Saville tests available, so finding out as much information as possible about the one you will be sitting is vital.

Whichever test you are taking, it is important to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version of your preferred web browser. Internet Explorer is not supported, so you will need to use an alternative, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Check your internet connection is working correctly before beginning an assessment. A download speed of 3 Mbps is recommended. Javascript must be enabled for the assessments to display correctly.

Take the test in a quiet environment where you will not be disturbed.

Your test results and PDF reports will be sent to the organization that asked you to take the test. They will discuss your results with you.

Step 1. Preparing for a Saville Personality Assessment

You can use a mobile phone, computer or tablet to complete the personality questionnaires.

Preparing for personality assessments is difficult because they are designed to help the employer learn about your character, rather than your skills or abilities.

The most important thing is to practice, as this will help you to become familiar with the test format.

Assessment providers often advise candidates that there are no right or wrong answers for a personality assessment. This is not strictly true, because the employer will be looking for candidates with certain qualities and attributes.

It is important that your answers reflect how your personality will be a good fit with the requirements of the job role and organizational culture.

You should concentrate on answering all questions honestly and consistently. When answering, try to remain focused on how you behave in a work-based environment.

Avoid rating statements in the same set with the same rating. If you do rate them equally, you will see the statements again and be asked to choose the one that is most like you and the one that is the least like you.

You will need to be sure that the answer you give is consistent with the response you gave earlier in the assessment. If it is not, there will be a gap between your talent and motive scores.

Although there is no set time limit for the personality assessments, try not to spend too long on them. As a general rule of thumb, aim to spend no longer than one hour on the Professional styles test, and no longer than 30 minutes on the Focus styles test.

Note that you may be required to take the test for a second time to verify your score.

Step 2. Preparing for a Saville Aptitude Test

The aptitude assessments are compatible with most tablets, but you may not access them from a mobile device (except for Swift Comprehension Verbal and Numerical Aptitude and the Workplace English Proficiency Tests). You can also complete them using a computer.

Remember to have a pen, notepad and calculator to hand when taking the test.

Aptitude tests are designed to test your natural abilities, so you don’t need to revise any specific information or learn anything new.

However, the time limitations can make them feel more difficult, as you will need to work under pressure. Taking lots of practice tests will help you to become familiar with the test format and improve your time management.

Verbal Reasoning

To prepare for this part of the test, you can:

  • Read a variety of written material, such as news articles, journals, books and magazines, on a daily basis. Critically evaluate the content of a few pages, analyzing the different arguments included in the text.
  • If you encounter a word that you are unfamiliar with, look it up in a dictionary to find out the meaning. You could also look it up in a thesaurus to find synonyms. Try writing a sentence to incorporate the new word in context or drop it into conversation to improve your vocabulary.
  • Pick up a crossword, word search or word puzzle magazine. Again, take time to look up any words you are unfamiliar with.

Numerical Reasoning

To prepare for this part of the test, you can:

  • Go back to basics and practice basic arithmetic skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Work through practice questions. Try answering problems both with and without using a calculator.
  • Analyze a range of graphs, tables and charts, summarizing their meaning in a few sentences. Consider future trends and make predictions based on the information available.
  • Read and analyze articles in financial reports and journals.

Diagrammatic Reasoning

To prepare for this part of the test, you can:

  • Consider downloading logic games or puzzles on your tablet or mobile device. These can be a fun and useful way to practice your diagrammatic reasoning skills.
  • Search for flowcharts and diagrams, working out logical processing and highlighting any patterns that you spot.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Saville Wave assessment is a type of psychometric personality assessment. It is used by employers to learn more about how a person behaves in the workplace.

Questions in a Saville Wave assessment are used to analyze a person’s working style, behavior and preferences.

Saville Wave assessments are often used as part of the employee hiring process. However, they are also a useful tool in career development.

Saville Wave testing is a personality questionnaire used to predict a person’s work performance and career potential. The questions in Saville Wave testing are designed to find out more about the test-takers behavior, preferences and working style.

Saville Wave testing is a useful tool when used as part of the hiring process, but some employers also use it in the context of organizational planning and career development.

Preparation is key if you want to pass a Saville Wave assessment. You should practice answering test questions regularly to help you become familiar with the format of the test.

Remember to research the job role thoroughly to find out more about the qualities and attributes the employer is looking for. When answering the test questions, think about how your personality makes you a good match for the job role and company culture – and ensure this is reflected in the answers you give.

Technically there are no right or wrong answers in a Saville Wave assessment. However, employers will have their own ideas about the personality attributes required to succeed in each job role.

To pass the Saville Wave assessment, you will need to have a good knowledge of the job and an understanding of the personality attributes best suited to the requirements of the role. When taking the test, ensure your answers reflect why you are a good match for the job you have applied for.

If you are applying for a job role and your results from the Saville Wave test indicate that you would be a good match for the vacancy, the recruiting organization will move your application to the next stage of the hiring process.

The exact process will vary between employers but may include an invitation to attend a face-to-face interview or assessment center.

If you are taking the Saville Wave for career development purposes, your manager will likely want to discuss your results and plans for career progression with you.

Many different employers use Saville assessments as part of the hiring process. This means that you may encounter the tests more than once during your career. However, it is unlikely that an employer would allow you to resit a Saville assessment if you did not achieve the required score.

Final Thoughts

Your results from the Saville Wave Personality Assessment and other Saville tests can be used throughout the employment lifecycle.

For the personality tests, it is important to respond to the questions truthfully in order to reflect your workplace personality and how you react to different situations.

Your results will provide the organization with a clear indication of how you will perform and which types of role you will be suitable for.

If a prospective employer has asked you to complete the Wave Personality Assessment, you should dedicate plenty of time to preparation, as this will allow you to give your best performance.

For the aptitude tests, you should spend time practicing your verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning skills. This could be achieved through everyday activities or by taking mock practice tests online.

Practice tests are the best way to become familiar with the test format and improve your time management. You should also spend time revisiting the job description for the role that you have applied for.

Your main objective is to show the employer that you have the relevant personality traits, skills and qualities for the job role.